| By Jared Rada

Are pee wee tennis players better athletes than pee wee football players? Are they stronger then soccer and basketball players?

I think it is safe to say that kids between the ages of five-years-old and eight-years-old share the same athletic capabilities within all sports. If this is true, why do we expect pee wee tennis players to play on a professional regulation tennis court hitting the same regulation tennis balls that the pros use? Tennis is the only sport where you will see this. Pee wee soccer is played on a smaller field, using a smaller ball, which is kicked into a smaller goal. Pee wee basketball players shoot a smaller ball into a lower net. Why do these other sports change and alter their equipment for their younger athletes?
The answer is … success.
Kids need to experience success to have fun and learn the sport. Pee wee tennis players are no different. Most parents enroll their kids in tennis lessons so they can learn a sport that they can play for their entire life … that is if the player does not quit out of frustration.
There are plenty of instructional tools out available that can help kids experience success in tennis. For starters, there are smaller racquets that are lighter and easer to control. There are foam and pressure-less tennis balls, making them easer to hit by providing a better target. Mini nets and portable lines can be set up to create a smaller court for play. All of these tools are designed not only to make sure the players experience success, but to give them an opportunity to really play the game. Using smaller courts and modified balls, kids can rally much easer and much quicker giving them the sense of playing in a real game.

It is very important to always keep in mind what makes sports fun. Fun is in keeping a rally, moving the ball around the court, and most of all, playing the game. It is up to us to make sure our young tennis players are in an atmosphere to make this possible. It is up to us to make sure that all tennis players experience success.

Jared Rada

<p>Jared Rada is director of tennis for Sportime at Roslyn. He has been coaching and directing tennis programs for the past 10 years. Jared holds a BA in business with a concentration in marketing from Hofstra University. He is a USPTA certified coach, as well as a certified speed, agility and quickness trainer. He may be reached at (516) 484-9222 or e-mail tdroslyn@gmail.com.</p>